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Did Paul Coffey have an Attitude issue?

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Old
03-18-2017, 02:02 PM
  #1
varano
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Did Paul Coffey have an Attitude issue?

Was just reading about Paul Coffey and I can't understand why he was traded so many times but in a lot of these cases it was only after short time periods.

Any thoughts?

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03-18-2017, 02:38 PM
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Big Phil
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I think we can all agree Coffey tended to go to the beat of his own drum. With someone like Sather he was smart enough to let Coffey do his thing and it worked. Coffey left Edmonton because of harsh words from Pocklington during a contract dispute, not because of the relationship with Sather.

I never understood why Scotty Bowman didn't appreciate Coffey though. Never got that. I know Coffey was not a big fan of systems and Bowman was, so I think that played into it.

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Old
03-18-2017, 02:48 PM
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I've always wondered the same thing about him... Something was going on. Perhaps the 4 Cups went to his head?

IDK... He certainly bounced around a lot later in his career. At the same time he didn't play for the best of franchises either.. Boston, Carolina, Chicago etc...

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03-18-2017, 03:02 PM
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Met him. Absolutely hated him. Never heard a good story about him in person.

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03-18-2017, 03:20 PM
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varano
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Originally Posted by Wood Stick View Post
Met him. Absolutely hated him. Never heard a good story about him in person.
I met him too. I thought he was ok. He was very "In my day we would...", but what older guys aren't like that?

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03-18-2017, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I think we can all agree Coffey tended to go to the beat of his own drum. With someone like Sather he was smart enough to let Coffey do his thing and it worked. Coffey left Edmonton because of harsh words from Pocklington during a contract dispute, not because of the relationship with Sather.

I never understood why Scotty Bowman didn't appreciate Coffey though. Never got that. I know Coffey was not a big fan of systems and Bowman was, so I think that played into it.
Bowman probably hated Coffey because Coffey hated Bowman. It was Scotty's way or the highway, and Paul more/less chose the highway.

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03-18-2017, 04:16 PM
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DisgruntledGoat
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I know the narrative now is all, 'Detroit had to trade away Coffey in order to win' but when Coffey first got there, there were plenty of Detroit players being quoted about how his leadership and professionalism was so important to their success...

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03-18-2017, 05:02 PM
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Dennis Bonvie
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He definitely had an attitude problem during his brief stay in Hartford.

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03-18-2017, 08:08 PM
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Terry Yake
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
He definitely had an attitude problem during his brief stay in Hartford.
came to say this

but then again, morale was pretty low among those last few whalers teams

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03-18-2017, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by varano View Post
Was just reading about Paul Coffey and I can't understand why he was traded so many times but in a lot of these cases it was only after short time periods.

Any thoughts?
It's well documented that Coffey and Sather clashed quite frequently, especially in the latter stages of the 1986 season and right on into the 1987 season.

Bowman certainly had no kind words for Coffey, in particular after Coffey's tenure in Detroit had come to an end.

Was it his attitude? It very well might have been. Besides his trade from Edmonton, it could have been his attitude combined with coaches feeling his play did not suit their system.

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03-18-2017, 11:29 PM
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The Panther
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
Coffey left Edmonton because of harsh words from Pocklington during a contract dispute, not because of the relationship with Sather.
Well, this isn't true, actually. Coffey and Sather locked horns a lot, especially circa early 1986 to autumn 1987, after which Coffey was traded. Remember Sather's words on Coffey in The Boys on the Bus film: "Paul is an incredible talent... he's probably the greatest skater I've ever seen... who can be as good as he wants to be, and as bad as he wants to be... all in the same shift on the ice." And he was saying this on camera, when Coffey was still on his team! There's a clip of Sather reaming him out in the dressing room, and Coffey says that Sather will often single "players" out in front of the whole team.

Towards the end of 1985-86, Coffey was scoring so much that he was getting lazy on defence, and Sather knew it. After Coff broke Orr's goals-in-a-season record, Sather limited his ice-time in the last two games, which pretty much ensured Coffey wouldn't get to 50 goals (he stopped at 48). Coffey was poor in the '86 playoffs, and after the Oilers were eliminated Sather publicly blamed him.

After Coffey signed his new contract with the Oilers in (I think?) summer 1986, he was pissed that Sather had low-balled him again, and his exact words to the Edmonton media were "Sather screwed me", which made headlines in Alberta.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I never understood why Scotty Bowman didn't appreciate Coffey though. Never got that. I know Coffey was not a big fan of systems and Bowman was, so I think that played into it.
I think Bowman did appreciate Coffey, and would have liked to have kept him. He did have him for three full seasons. But Bowman's whole mission was turning Detroit into the best defensive team, and into the '96 playoffs Coffey was still taking risks as if he didn't buy into that. The Wings were stacked with great two-way D-men, so Coffey was expendable.
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Originally Posted by Wood Stick View Post
Met him. Absolutely hated him. Never heard a good story about him in person.
I wouldn't buy into that. Coffey is an extremely shy person. He's not the type who's comfortable in any social situations, let alone meeting strangers.

When he joined the Oilers in autumn 1980, everyone on the team mocked him because he didn't speak to anybody for weeks. For the first few years, he lived with Jari Kurri -- a Finn who could barely speak English.

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03-19-2017, 10:35 AM
  #12
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Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
Well, this isn't true, actually. Coffey and Sather locked horns a lot, especially circa early 1986 to autumn 1987, after which Coffey was traded. Remember Sather's words on Coffey in The Boys on the Bus film: "Paul is an incredible talent... he's probably the greatest skater I've ever seen... who can be as good as he wants to be, and as bad as he wants to be... all in the same shift on the ice." And he was saying this on camera, when Coffey was still on his team! There's a clip of Sather reaming him out in the dressing room, and Coffey says that Sather will often single "players" out in front of the whole team.

Towards the end of 1985-86, Coffey was scoring so much that he was getting lazy on defence, and Sather knew it. After Coff broke Orr's goals-in-a-season record, Sather limited his ice-time in the last two games, which pretty much ensured Coffey wouldn't get to 50 goals (he stopped at 48). Coffey was poor in the '86 playoffs, and after the Oilers were eliminated Sather publicly blamed him.

After Coffey signed his new contract with the Oilers in (I think?) summer 1986, he was pissed that Sather had low-balled him again, and his exact words to the Edmonton media were "Sather screwed me", which made headlines in Alberta.

I think Bowman did appreciate Coffey, and would have liked to have kept him. He did have him for three full seasons. But Bowman's whole mission was turning Detroit into the best defensive team, and into the '96 playoffs Coffey was still taking risks as if he didn't buy into that. The Wings were stacked with great two-way D-men, so Coffey was expendable.

I wouldn't buy into that. Coffey is an extremely shy person. He's not the type who's comfortable in any social situations, let alone meeting strangers.

When he joined the Oilers in autumn 1980, everyone on the team mocked him because he didn't speak to anybody for weeks. For the first few years, he lived with Jari Kurri -- a Finn who could barely speak English.
He was very talkative to me. Very dad like.

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03-19-2017, 12:02 PM
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Big Phil
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Originally Posted by Dennis Bonvie View Post
He definitely had an attitude problem during his brief stay in Hartford.
I can actually understand that rather well. He's won 4 Cups, 3 Norris Trophies and he's one of the all-time greats. He probably just wanted to stay on an elite team and get a cherry on top at the end of his career.................then he's shipped off to Hartford. Hands up if you would like to go to Hartford after being in Detroit in the later stages of your career. It would be easy to be deflated by that, and I think he was.

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03-19-2017, 12:51 PM
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I'm not sure if he had an attitude issue but he was a great player!

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03-19-2017, 05:38 PM
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It was all downhill for him after getting traded by Detroit to Hartford, as others have said his spirit was probably crushed by being forced out of an ideal situation like that into a basement team like Hartford. He was traded quickly after that to Philadelphia because he made his hatred of the Whalers clear so he pretty much forced their hand there. When you look at it though, he pretty much played with all of the top centermen of his era; Gretzky, Lemieux, Yzerman, Francis, Lindros, Thornton...

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03-19-2017, 09:05 PM
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Can't believe he played for the Bruins.

He sure did bounce around a bit at the end...

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03-19-2017, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ForsbergForever View Post
When you look at it though, he pretty much played with all of the top centermen of his era; Gretzky, Lemieux, Yzerman, Francis, Lindros, Thornton...
...trottier, messier, larionov, hawerchuk, gilmour, fedorov...

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03-19-2017, 10:26 PM
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Can't believe he played for the Bruins.

He sure did bounce around a bit at the end...
Coffey's the poster-child for too much bouncing around at the end. From 1996 to 2000 he played for 5 franchises.

1996 World Cup is the last time I really care to remember him.

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03-20-2017, 06:30 AM
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Can't believe he played for the Bruins.

He sure did bounce around a bit at the end...
Thats what I'm saying...
Player of his caliber bouncing around like that is really something

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03-20-2017, 07:23 AM
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rfournier103
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Originally Posted by rfournier103 View Post
Can't believe he played for the Bruins.

He sure did bounce around a bit at the end...
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Panther View Post
Coffey's the poster-child for too much bouncing around at the end. From 1996 to 2000 he played for 5 franchises.

1996 World Cup is the last time I really care to remember him.
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Originally Posted by varano View Post
Thats what I'm saying...
Player of his caliber bouncing around like that is really something
That happens alot in the NFL. Mostly because of the nature of their free agency and salary cap, but sometimes for 'personal' reasons.

Talented players like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens come to mind.

Paul Coffey was as talented a hockey player as they were football players. I had never heard of him having any kind of issue until I read this thread. I was only 12 or 13 when he left Edmonton, but all I remember reading about in the Boston Sunday Globe was that he and Oilers ownership had a falling out over money. Being a Bruins fan, that didn't seem odd to me.

The Globe (I believe Kevin Paul DuPont wrote this) likened the new Pittsburgh lineup of Lemieux/Coffey to Esposito/Orr. Seeing as how each combo won two Stanley Cup Championships, the Globe wasn't far off. Although the Oilers won the Cup twice more without him, I think Coffey landed on his feet in the best situation possible with Pittsburgh - winning two more Championships there. He certainly played on two amazing teams (80s Oilers and 90s Penguins). Only a select few ever get a chance to play on even one team like that...


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Old
03-20-2017, 07:35 AM
  #21
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Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I think we can all agree Coffey tended to go to the beat of his own drum. With someone like Sather he was smart enough to let Coffey do his thing and it worked. Coffey left Edmonton because of harsh words from Pocklington during a contract dispute, not because of the relationship with Sather.

I never understood why Scotty Bowman didn't appreciate Coffey though. Never got that. I know Coffey was not a big fan of systems and Bowman was, so I think that played into it.
I think it's something personal. Scotty never ripped into lesser Coffey types like Housley or Van Boxmeer like he did with Coffey. Seems like some bad blood there.

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03-20-2017, 07:58 AM
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I think it's something personal. Scotty never ripped into lesser Coffey types like Housley or Van Boxmeer like he did with Coffey. Seems like some bad blood there.
Bowman seems like the consummate professional. Whatever happened between them; it must have been serious.

Any speculation about what it could have been?

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03-20-2017, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Phil View Post
I think we can all agree Coffey tended to go to the beat of his own drum. With someone like Sather he was smart enough to let Coffey do his thing and it worked. Coffey left Edmonton because of harsh words from Pocklington during a contract dispute, not because of the relationship with Sather.

I never understood why Scotty Bowman didn't appreciate Coffey though. Never got that. I know Coffey was not a big fan of systems and Bowman was, so I think that played into it.
It worked in Edmonton. Bowman was very disliked by the players at first. But Bowman demanded a 100% buy in with the team leaders leading the way in showing they will buy in and play for the team. Yzerman did, Coffey didn't. Coffey bought in somewhat, but would often abandon the plan to do his own thing and it often cost the team.

Bowman is damn right when he said "Why can't he play defense? He has all that skill".

People can reference a play or two here and there where Coffey's speed let him get back into the play and save his gaffe, but for the most part, he was 2 stars of 5 defensively. Fortunately he was 6 stars out of 5 offensively

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03-20-2017, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by rfournier103 View Post
That happens alot in the NFL. Mostly because of the nature of their free agency and salary cap, but sometimes for 'personal' reasons.

Talented players like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens come to mind.

Paul Coffey was as talented a hockey player as they were football players. I had never heard of him having any kind of issue until I read this thread. I was only 12 or 13 when he left Edmonton, but all I remember reading about in the Boston Sunday Globe was that he and Oilers ownership had a falling out over money. Being a Bruins fan, that didn't seem odd to me.

The Globe (I believe Kevin Paul DuPont wrote this) likened the new Pittsburgh lineup of Lemieux/Coffey to Esposito/Orr. Seeing as how each combo won two Stanley Cup Championships, the Globe wasn't far off. Although the Oilers won the Cup twice more without him, I think Coffey landed on his feet in the best situation possible with Pittsburgh - winning two more Championships there. He certainly played on two amazing teams (80s Oilers and 90s Penguins). Only a select few ever get a chance to play on even one team like that...
Coffey only won 1 SC with Lemieux. They shipped him to LA in 91-92

Craig Patrick wanted a more defensive Defenseman when they were nearly missing the playoffs in 91-92, decided Larry Murphy would do fine in Coffey's role(And was better defensively than Coffey anyways) and made moves to replace Coffey with Kjell Samuellson by trading with Philly and then giving Coffey away for Prospects and picks. Coffey was fairly expendable as he was not a key contributor to their first cup to begin with. One 4 point game vs Washington aside, Coffey missed time and only contributed 2 goals and 4 assists in 11 playoff games while Murphy was lighting it up constantly.

As I recall, the Pens were more upset about losing Recchi than Coffey.

Whether Bowman had a say in Coffey being shipped or not, we will never know. I think it had more to do with big contracts being due for some other big names on the team from what I can remember.

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03-20-2017, 11:19 AM
  #25
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I believe he was shipped out of LA in 93 to be made an example of - putting the team on notice. They started the season very strong. But December - January they slumped.
Not sure if dealing Coffey had any deeper implications than just waking the team up. I would imagine they would have been better off keeping him, as Jimmy Carson wasn't exactly instrumental in their playoff run.

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